Monday, February 23, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #175 : Die Hard

Title : Die Hard

Publisher : Activision

Developer : Pack-In Video

Genre : Side-Scrolling, Top-Down

Players : 1 Player

Release Date : 1991

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $60 - $75

All right, I know I promised some Chrono Trigger love, and trust me it's coming (the review is one of my longer ones because I can't get enough the of the game). Also, be sure to check out my YOUTUBE channel, as I have been going back and doing some LETS PLAYS of every....single...NES game.....yup...that's going to take awhile too. So be sure to like, comment, subscribe and all that good stuff. Figured it would be a good addition to the blog. Eh? How bout it! Anyway, back to the games. This past weekend I got a chance to play something I never played when I was a kid based on one of the greatest action flicks of all time starring the kick-ass Bruce Willis, and of course Alan Rickman (screw Professor Snape, this is his best role!). I'm of course, talking about DIE HARD.

Here's a question up for debate. Is Die Hard considered a Holiday flick? I mean, seriously, just because it takes place during Christmas, can we really call it a holiday film? I really feel like it's a tad bit borderline. It's like calling Edward Scissorhands a holiday flick, or Batman Returns a Christmas movie. Just because a film takes place during the holiday, doesn't mean it's a holiday film! Seriously though, debate and discuss...curious to hear what you all think. I think films need to be broken up into two generalized areas then for holidays. STRICTLY holiday films (where the focal point is ALL about the holidays), then the semi-holiday film. Can you guys think of other films that are "technically" holiday films...but not really?

Back to DIE HARD. This game was actually released under a few systems including a DOS game back in '89 as well as a Commodore version in 1990. Wish I could tell you what those other two games were like, but I really have no clue. I'm so out of touch with DOS games besides a few, and commodore I'm basically clueless. Still, even being released in 1991, that's a few years too late considering the movie was released in '89. That probably explains why the game is a bit pricey. Limited release to go along with poor sales.

I just had my fingers crossed that Carl Winslow from Family Matters makes a guest appearance in this game.

They must have grabbed that scene straight from the movie! Check that out! You can't get a better title screen than that. Helicopters, burning buildings, and the title DIE HARD. Ooooh, I've got goosebumps. The game plays out much like the movie. You're John Maclaine, and you have to stop terrorists from killing hostages along with your wife, and making out like bandits by stealing a whole boat load of cash. Curse you Alan Rickman and your devious ways! And of course, the game takes place in the notorious Nakatomi Plaza in LA. No, Nakatomi Plaza isn't real. Real building, fake name.

You can choose from BEGINNER or ADVANCED difficulty, but trust me game is hard enough as it is. Move on to ADVANCED when you actually beat the game once and you want to do a time trial or something. Otherwise you're just going to get frustrated.

What makes the game so hard? Well, a few things. First of all, the game is basically timed. Hans Gruber's hacker, Theo, is busy unlocking the safe and after approximately every 4 minutes, one of the locks is undone. There are a total of 6 locks, so when you think about it that way you only have 24 minutes (actually less) to clear the building of terrorists. So? Why not just rush up to the 30th floor where Gruber is and just take them out? YOU CANT! DIDN'T YOU WATCH THE MOVIE!?

McClane needs to basically work his way through each floor, killing as many terrorists as possible to make the final fight against Gruber a bit easier. I don't think you want to face off against all 40 terrorists and let Gruber escape now, do you? There are a different number of terrorists on each floor, so you'll spend a lot of time taking elevators up and down, crawling through vents, and basically trying to kill as many people as possible before the last lock is undone.

You can slow the process down by destroying a main computer grid on one of the floors, or you can just listen in on Gruber over the walkies to figure out where terrorists are being sent to so you can head them off and take them by surprise. You'll only be able to take advantage of this for the first few locks, so use it while you can.

Of course, McClane will have access to a large arsenal of weapons, however you start off with only a pistol. No worries though, you can take weapons from fallen terrorists including sub machine guns, tear gas, grenades, etc. Guns take a tad bit of getting used to though. They have a limited range, and angle of shooting so you really need to know how to shoot effectively to clear out terrorists without wasting too many bullets. It's not like you have an unlimited amount.

Be prepared for McClane to take a beating too. You'll definitely get shot at, but you can recover by collecting soda cans and snacks from vending machines. And be careful, because each time you're shot you end up dropping some items you picked up. But here's the real kicker. JUST like the movie, if you step on glass, you'll injure your feet and you'll end up moving slower. How AWESOME is that!?

I kid you not when I say this is one of the greatest movie based games for the NES, and it's a damn shame it came out so late because it really is unappreciated. As you can see in the screenshot above, my wish came true and Carl is in the game, as well as every other character from the film. It really does follow the plot quite well, and the cinematic sequences do an amazing job of moving the story forward. I love it when Gruber appears and starts shouting orders, causing me to panic and race to another floor. Hell, even watching the helicopter explode over Nakatomi plaza was exciting, and this is an 8-bit game we're talking about!

The top down perspective works incredibly well, and the level design is varied enough for each floor of Nakatomi plaza to keep you guessing as to where terrorrists are hiding and where you can collect power ups or first aid. You don't want broken glass in your foot forever.

The music is also incredible, and I love it when it changes as soon as you find yourself in a gun fight with some baddies. The sound of spraying bullets and broken glass are like music to my ear!

I really think the only problem I had with this game was the difficulty. It's one of the harder games out there, but it's also a challenge that many people seem to take head on. I've watched a great deal of videos on this game, and some of the better ones are the SPEED RUNS of people absolutely obsessed with this game taking it down in record time. It's incredible. Helped give me a lot of pointers on how to survive the onslaught of terrorists in this game.

Other than that, if you want to experience DIE HARD the way it was meant to in video game form, look no further. Yippe Kai Yay mother fu....sorry, family friendly blog.

Final Score (out of 5):

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!



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